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||You are on Week 672
Every week we will be starting a new Story Telling competition - with great prizes! The current prize is 2000 NP, plus a rare item!!! This is how it works...
We start a story and you have to write the next few paragraphs. We will select the best submissions every day and put it on the site, and then you have to write the next one, all the way until the story finishes. Got it? Well, submit your paragraphs below!
Story Six Hundred Seventy Two Ends Friday, September 5
|In an unassuming house that was off a side road of one of the main routes across Neopia, there was a secret trapdoor in one of the rooms that lead into a secret basement. If you didn't know where to look, you'd never know it was there. Within that basement was one of the hideouts for Heermeedjet and Meerouladen, the infamous Meerca Brothers.
Heermeedjet was reading the latest issue of The Neopian Times that he had stolen from the nearest Neohome's porch while Meerouladen was going over their current stock of inventory.
"Take a look at this, brother!" Meerouladen said, picking up a bag of gems. "We got quite the haul from that vault the other day. A few more jobs like that and we'll be able to really move up in the criminal underworld."
"Rrrrrr..." Heermeedjet growled back, still reading the paper.
"What? You don't want to move up?" Meerouladen replied.
"No, it's not that! Look at this story!" the other criminal Meerca said, pushing the paper toward his brother.
"Thieves break into Sakhmet Palace during diplomatic meeting," Meerouladen read. "Investigators on the case."
Meerouladen looked to his brother. "I don't believe it!"
"I know!" Heermeedjet replied. "Breaking into palaces and castles is our thing! These guys are cramping our style!"
"You know what we need to do, right?" Meerouladen said. "We need to show those groups that they're just amateurs, and the best way to do that is with the biggest job of all!"
Heermeedjet's eyes widened with an evil glint. "Do you mean we're finally going to do the job that we always said we would do?"
"That's right, brother," Meerouladen replied, "and the timing couldn't be better. With everyone focused on the Lost Desert, no one will look elsewhere. We're going to do it. We're finally going to break into the Hidden Tower..."
Date: Sep 2nd
..."Yes! I have been waiting for this moment for so long!" Heermeedjet said as he rubbed his paws together evilly.
The goggle-eyed Meerca then rushed over to a dusty old locked chest at the corner of the room. He then unlocked it and took out a blueprint of the Hidden Tower.
"Whoa there, now! We're not going right this minute, Heermeedjet. We have to make sure everything is in place and that we've got all our Mallards in a row," Meerouladen told his brother as he put the item safely back into the chest.
"Right, yes. So sorry, brother, but you know how much I've wanted this day to come," Heermeedjet replied.
"Oh, I know. I, too, have wanted to initiate 'Operation: Purple Cloud' for just as long as you have," the Meerca told his older brother.
Meerouladen may have been the younger brother but he was always the steadier one. Heermeedjet always wanted to just go, go, go without looking back. They worked together perfectly this way and balanced each other out nicely.
"Right, I understand," Heermeedjet said as he began preparing what looked to be a potion.
"Be sure to make it extra thick. We don't want those goody-goody faerie Kougra palace guards to wake up during our visit," Meerouladen told his brother.
"I know, I know... no worries, brother. I've got plenty of Slumberberries and then some." Heermeedjet grinned widely as he said this.
"Good, very good. While you're fixing that up I'll go get the glue," the younger brother said with a spring in his step.
Meerouladen went toward a large closet and slid inside of it, but as he turned on the light he noticed that all of their supplies were missing...
Date: Sep 2nd
...Meerouladen rubbed his eyes, hoping that the missing provisions were merely a trick of the light, even his mind. They were still gone, however. He turned the light off and back on in a vain attempt to get them to reappear. "Heermeedjet?" he called to his brother, his voice possessing only a hint of panic. "Everything has disappeared."
His declaration was followed by a pause. "What?" the older Meerca called back, more surprised than filled with rage. "Everything is gone?"
"Yes," Meerouladen called back with a flicker in his tone.
Heermeedjet was soon by his brother's side, observing the damage. "This is bad, and we can't bloody well contact the authorities," the older Meerca replied with a frown.
The younger brother shot Heermeedjet a look graced with anger. "Of course we can't," he concluded with mild ire as an awkward atmosphere filled the closet. "What we can do, though," he continued as his sharp eyes narrowed upon a slip of paper, "is track down the culprits."
"How so?" Heermeedjet inquired.
The younger brother showed his partner in crime the tiny piece of parchment. "The intruder has left a note."
He unrolled it and read from the elegant handwriting:
This is the Dagger Clan.
We have watched you, from the shadows, pull heist after successful heist. Slowly, we have reverse engineered your tactics and now carried them out in an act of larceny on our ultimate target: you.
It appears as though we were successful.
You know what they say -- observe, replicate, assimilate. Well, we'd like you two as part of our team. Considering we have all your supplies, we do not believe you to be in a position to refuse.
We have just stolen a ring from Queen Nabile, but our thievery in the Lost Desert has not yet concluded. We shall wait near the steps of the palace for your arrival.
--The Dagger Clan."
Meerouladen grinned. They had made one foul mistake. "You know what we must do now, correct?" he asked his brother...
Date: Sep 3rd
...Heermeedjet grinned back as he held up the blueprint of the Hidden Tower and wiggled it playfully. "We need to pull off 'Operation: Purple Cloud.'"
"Exactly!" Meerouladen said, his tail wiggling with excitement. "They thought that they beat us at our own game -- now we need to beat them at their own game... which is our own game, I guess."
"Who better to play it than us, then?" Heermeedjet shouted. "Just imagine the looks on their faces when we show up at the meeting wearing the Amulet of Thilg and the Bracelet of Kings, wielding the Sword of Skardsen and the Twin Faerie Blades while munching on some Everlasting Apples."
Meerouladen had already rolled the blueprint out on the table and was marking it up with a pencil. "We'll show The Dagger Clan that we can pull off the greatest heist Neopia has ever seen, even without all of our equipment. They want us to be part of their team, huh? Well, after they see what we've done, they'll be using all of their big, fancy words to beg to be part of our team... and we won't let them!"
"But... we don't have a team," Heermeedjet said hesitantly.
Meerouladen shrugged. "Then we'll make a team for the express purpose of not allowing them in it!" The two brothers burst out laughing and started to dance around their secret hideout. "Operation: Purple Cloud" was a go!
"So, what now?" Meerouladen asked. He and his brother were standing at the base of the Hidden Tower, peering up at it uncertainly, realizing that maybe they hadn't thought this through well enough.
The two Meercas were cleverly disguised so as to blend in with the crowd. However, they thought that a "clever disguise" was composed of a ratty wig, an obviously fake mustache, and a loud tropical-patterned shirt that had the words "NOT SUSPICIOUS" on the back. Still, this had the intended effect: they weren't blending in with the crowd, but the crowd was ignoring them because nobody wanted to get involved with two such weird-looking Neopets.
Heermeedjet pulled the rolled-up blueprint out of his back pocket and spread it out on the ground. The two craned over it and looked at the pencil marks they had made earlier, hoping for inspiration. Unfortunately, the only marks they had made so far were several large circles around the whole tower and some arrows pointing at it with the words "Get in here!!!" written nearby.
The two brothers looked at each other. Meerouladen scratched his head. "Maybe we bit off a little more than we can chew..."
Date: Sep 3rd
...As the two brothers were working through their plan, a chill crept up their spines when they heard some of the last two voices they could have expected.
"I can't believe someone robbed the Hidden Tower!" Aisheena declared. "I thought Queen Fyora had full security measures in place, especially after that mess in the Lost Desert."
"We may have figured out who stole which item, but the thieves guilds are large and far-reaching. We haven't tracked them all down," Captain Astounding replied.
This perked up both brothers' ears. Could it be true? Had they been beaten to the punch?
"Meerouladen, quick! Let's follow them in, but be sneaky!" Heermeedjet whispered. "Maybe we can get to the bottom of this... no one pulls off our heist before us!"
The brothers trailed Aisheena and Captain Astounding through the secret entrance to the Hidden Tower until they entered Queen Fyora's office. The Hidden Tower was perfectly in place -- nothing was trashed or moved, but the room was devoid of anything... just the white and pale purple walls and shelves.
"Heermeedjet, you listen in on what the queen and the Defenders have to say. I'll be taking a look around," Meerouladen said as he went to explore the now-empty tower. He circled around the room and saw a familiar-looking note rolled up at the base of one shelf. Meerouladen snatched it up to take to his brother, not bothering to read it first.
"Meerouladen, the Defenders think that one of the thieves guilds did this."
"Hold that thought, partner. I found a note and it looks like the one from this morning!" They unfurled the note together:
What a lovely plan you had laying out on your table. Cute code name, too... 'Purple Cloud.' It was too tempting not to try. As you can see, we have the muscle and you two have the plans. We are still meeting at the steps of the palace every day while the Snowager sleeps.
We want your help.
--The Dagger Clan"...
Date: Sep 4th
..."Curses! It's almost like they know what we're planning," Heermeedjet grumbled.
"Almost? It's EXACTLY like they know what we're planning. In fact, it would seem that they have an accomplice among us who's telling them what we're up to," Meerouladen said, looking away.
"What are you suggesting? 'Among us?' There's two of us!" Heermeedjet gasped.
"I think you know exactly what I mean. You've always been one to rush into things. I bet you agreed to join them and turned against me!"
"Why, I'd never! If anything, you schemed with them against ME!" Heermeedjet's voice slightly raised and echoed ever-so-slightly into the office. Quiet, but just loud enough for Aisheena's ear stalks to lift.
"Did you hear that?" she said, poking her head outside of the office and looking around.
The Meerca Brothers crouched further behind a potted plant in the hallway. Unfortunately, potted plants are good scenery but bad hiding places. It tipped over, giving away their location with an ear-splitting crash.
"It looks like we've got our thieves," Captain Astounding said, entering the hallway with Fyora. "You head back to the Defenders' HQ and I'll handle this." Aisheena nodded, and then she and Fyora headed down the hallway. Heermeedjet and Meerouladen sheepishly looked up at the masked Grarrl who now stood over them, alone in the hallway.
"It's not what you think!" Meerouladen cried.
"Actually, you two, I'M not WHO you think," Captain Astounding replied, removing his mask.
"What?!? You're not Captain Astounding!" Heermeedjet could only stare. "You're..."
Date: Sep 4th
"...a member of the Dagger Clan!"
The Grarrl grinned, his razor-sharp teeth glinting under the fluorescent lighting of the Hidden Tower.
"Very astute," he replied. "We could use your powers of observation on our team."
Heermeedjet glared at the Grarrl. "We have no intention of joining your team," he spat. "Isn't that right, brother?"
The Meerca glanced at Meerouladen, expecting him to agree, but his brother seemed speechless as he stared at the towering figure before them.
"Meerouladen?" he prompted.
"H-huh?" Meerouladen seemed to break free from a trance and registered Heermeedjet looking at him pointedly.
"Oh, right... you know what, brother, I think we should give them a chance. Seeing as they managed to rob us, the best of the best, and pull off our ultimate plan, then they must have some potential, after all."
The Grarrl's grin widened to near-impossible width. "Excellent. Now, let's get out of here before the Defenders detect something suspicious and return."
"What? Where--" Meerouladen began.
"The Clan will be waiting for us at the outskirts of Faerie City. They relocated there to avoid coming face-to-face with the Defenders."
Before Heermeedjet could protest, the Grarrl took off, followed by Meerouladen.
"Oh, and you may call me Rhyder," the Grarrl called over his shoulder. "I am the Dagger Clan's messenger and... ahem, recruiter."
Heermeedjet hurried after his brother, perplexed by Meerouladen's sudden change of heart regarding the Dagger Clan.
As the trio stealthily exited the Hidden Tower and made their way through the darkened streets of Faerie City, he lagged behind, pulling Meerouladen with him.
"What are you doing?!?" he whispered to his brother when they were out of Rhyder's hearing range. "I thought we were our own team! I was right -- you did turn against me, you foul traitor!"
"You don't understand," Meerouladen interjected. "They took all of our supplies and stole our greatest project. Somehow, they have managed to infiltrate our team and stay one step ahead of us all this time. Now, there's only one thing left to do."
Understanding seemed to dawn on Heermeedjet. "Take revenge!" His eyes glinted at the very thought.
"Exactly. This fool is leading us straight to their meeting place, and from there, we'll play along until we reach their headquarters. We'll retrieve all of our things and take their supplies while we're at it!"
"Ingenious," Heermeedjet beamed. "'Operation: Give The Dagger Clan A Taste Of Their Own Medicine' is ago!"
"Erm... let's just call it 'Operation: Dagger,' shall we?"
"'Operation: Dagger' is ago!"
With this, the two brothers hurried to catch up with Rhyder before he noticed anything suspicious...
Date: Sep 5th
...Luckily for the brothers, the Grarrl led them straight to an unassuming house that was off a side road of one of the main routes across Faerieland. Without any hesitation, and with smiles of reassurance from the Meercas, Rhyder showed them to a trapdoor where they entered the basement.
"Hey," Meerouladen said with a furrowed brow, "this looks exactly like our hideout."
The furniture was nicer and the air didn’t smell as musty, but overall the basement looked peculiarly like their basement in Neopia. Most of the space was even preoccupied by what was, presumably, stolen items from all sorts of places, including many items from the Hidden Tower.
"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," a voice said, making them all jump.
An Aisha dressed in robes of silk stepped from behind a bookshelf. Very slowly, other members began to appear from the shadows. All of them were very clearly dressed and decorated in the traditional Sakhmet garb.
"Are you the leader here?" Heermeedjet asked.
"Our leaders are back in Sakhmet," the Aisha explained, "but I speak for them. We are very glad that you've decided to join our ranks."
"We are very humbled that the Dagger Clan has extended the invitation," Heermeedjet said. His younger brother fidgeted behind him and he felt something slide into his hand.
"The Dagger Clan has been watching you for quite some time," the Aisha continued, "and, although your plans are ingenious, your execution is somewhat lacking spark. Don't worry, we'll help you with that." She laughed lightly.
"Do you have our supplies?" Meerouladen asked.
"Of course," the Aisha said, turning toward a nearby closet. "They're right over he--"
The two brothers acted instinctively, tuned to each other's movements like one Neopet. They both swung at the same time, breaking the plastic tubes in their hands to release a very powerful sleeping gas they'd invented themselves. Heermeedjet and Meerouladen both ran toward the closet and, with some relief, saw that the Aisha was, indeed, telling the truth about their supplies. Meerouladen found their masks and slipped both over their faces.
"Didn't anyone ever tell them not to trust a thief?" Heermeedjet said with a smile.
It took ten minutes for the smoke to dissipate, and when it did, they saw the members of the Dagger Clan laid about on the floor or draped over the furniture, snoring peacefully.
"That was almost too easy," Meerouladen said.
"Come on, let's get going," Heermeedjet snapped. The two brothers dragged the sleeping Neopets into the closet and locked the door.
They spent the next several hours securing a lease for another unassuming house that was off a different side road of one of the other main routes across Faerieland, and moved all of the items with the begrudging help of a dark faerie whom they promised a considerable amount of the Hidden Tower loot.
"You know, I'm kind of liking Faerieland," Heermeedjet said as they were moving the last of the items.
Meerouladen nodded. "I suppose we could stay here for a while. Do you think we could steal some of the magical water from the Rainbow Pool? I've always thought I'd look good as a royal."
The last thing they did was to leave a note where the Dagger Clan would be sure to find it sometime after they awoke to an empty house. It read:
Dear Dagger Clan,
We respectfully decline your invitation. Just in case you didn't get the message already, don’t EVER mess with the Meerca Brothers!
Date: Sep 6th
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